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One week has passed since the new semester began. Maybe we need more time to get used to this complicated university life.

Anyway, those who take classes on ICU campus (especially freshmen) must have enjoyed this week because it’s for the first time in a while that the campus has been open to students! But some of you may feel anxious about what you're going to do. Don’t be so nervous. Here are three tips to help you to stay positive, with the first step each you should take!

Find the Good

"When you find a cup of water filled half way, which do you think it is—a glass half empty, or a glass half full?"

It’s a very familiar question, which describes your way to look at things. If you regard it as the former, it means you tend to take things pessimistically. If you see it as the latter, you are good at thinking positively. By this way of thinking, you can view adversity to be an opportunity. 

In this way, happiness depends on your own subjectivity. Whatever difficulties you face, you can overcome it by finding the good.

First Step: Try to look back what you failed recently, then find some positive sides of it.

Find the Place Where You Can Relieve

In your classroom, some of you feel afraid to say something unclear, especially in a foreign language. This means that you don’t regard the classroom as a safe or comfortable place. If you feel this way, it’s not easy for you to improve your speaking skills. Of course, it may be difficult to find a place, but it's easy to create by yourself! 

Firstly, you need to let everyone know about your anxiety or weaknesses. If everyone around you understands your worries, they'll keep an eye on you while you're speaking. It will be easier to make mistakes because that is the process of learning.

Additionally, you need find a place to rest. This could be your house, the classroom during the break time, or anyehere else. Nothing is more important for staying positive than taking time to refresh!

First Step: Try to think about what is making you feel anxious, then you can find what kind of place you will be able to do your best.

Let Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is to pursue a perfect situation or result under any circumstances. Perfectionists tends to believe only in success. So if perfectionists are in trouble, or don't get whatever they hoped for, they cannot bear that reality. 

"Best-ism" is a similar way of thinking to perfectionism, but it's definitely not the same thing! "Best-ism" means to accept the reality in front of your eyes. “Best-ists” don't try to succeed in everything because they understand their capacity. Most importantly, if they make a mistake, they believe that the failure is an essential part of success.

First Step: Try to set an achievable purpose, and accept your failures.


Good luck this fall semester. 

These three tips and steps may help you stay happy and positive this semester. If you’re interested more, check the book Even Happier: A Gratitude Journal for Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Ben-Shahar.

Kanako Shimizu

ICU Japan '23

Hi, I'm Kanako. I'm studying at International Christian University.
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